Traces of an ancient mythical people found on Taimyr

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Traces of an ancient mythical people found on Taimyr
Traces of an ancient mythical people found on Taimyr

Krasnoyarsk archaeologists have made a series of unique finds in Taimyr. Some of them may be traces of the ancient inhabitants of the Arctic - the legendary people of Sikhirta, the memory of which among modern northern peoples has survived only in myths, experts from Krasnoyarsk Geoarcheology LLC told TASS.

"These are the most eastern monuments of Western cultures, which were widespread in Yamal, along the entire coast of the Arctic Ocean, and which are associated with the legendary Sikhirta. Information about them is contained in Nenets legends. Their distinctive feature is that they lived in the ground. Makarov, we recorded a frame-earthen structure and a lot of tools, including those made from mammoth tusk. It dates back to the XIV century, recently [the results of] radiocarbon analysis came from California, "Danil Lysenko, director of Krasnoyarsk Geoarcheology, told TASS.

Mysterious culture

Makarov Bay is located on the northwestern coast of Taimyr, in the Pyasinsky Bay of the Kara Sea. Seven centuries ago, it was much warmer in these latitudes. Around the 15th-16th centuries, a cold snap, known in science as the Little Ice Age, began; it brought the Arctic cold to Siberia.

According to Lysenko, the inhabitants of the settlement in Makarov Bay hunted polar bears, seals and bearded seals (mammals of the seal family). This is the only settlement of ancient people known in Taimyr that is not associated with the production of wild reindeer.

There is also an ancient sanctuary in Makarov Bay, where on a steep rock the ancient inhabitants of these places sacrificed the paws and heads of bears, deer, and bird wings. "A rather ancient and archaic rite, which, apparently, the Nenets adopted from the former population - sikhirta," Lysenko said.

In their myths, the Nenets describe the sikhirta as small people with blond hair and eyes who live in "hills", graze "earth deer" (mammoths), ride dogs, fish, do blacksmithing and come to the surface only at night. They are strong shamans, sometimes they are related to local peoples. The doors to the dwellings of the Sikhirt are marked with a "horn" (mammoth tusk). Such a detailed description of the folklore image allows scientists to assume that there was a people in the Arctic who were the predecessor of nomadic reindeer herders.

“There are analogies on the Yamal Peninsula - these are monuments discovered by the Arctic explorer Valery Chernetsov in 1929. This is a circle of western analogies associated with the pre-Samodian population of the northern outskirts. rather late pre-Russian time, Lysenko said.

Hypotheses and facts

In the 19th century, the hypothesis of the existence of a culture, whose representatives lived in the vast territory of the Arctic: from Alaska to Western Siberia, was popular in Russian science. Valery Chernetsov, describing his findings, assumed that the life of the ancient people of sedentary marine hunters was close to the economy and culture of the ancestors of the Eskimos and sedentary Chukchi. This hypothesis was abandoned at the end of the 20th century; an analysis of the accumulated artifacts showed a very large difference between the ancient population of Yamal and the marine hunters of the Bering Strait.

Later, it was suggested that the idea of sikhirta is associated with the peoples of the European North. In the sixties of the last century, archaeologists found the ancient settlement of Nakhodka Bay on Yamal, which soon became known as the "town of Sikhirta". Large-scale archaeological excavations were carried out there only after 2000. Scientists have come to the conclusion that the buildings of this medieval settlement, founded in the second quarter of the 13th century, are similar to the houses with a timber frame and covered with sod, which were built in the Middle Ages by the inhabitants of Iceland and the Sami in northern Europe. The buildings found there outwardly resemble small hills, inside of which there were long wooden houses.

Lysenko suggested that the Sikhirta probably belonged to the pre-Samodian population of the Arctic. The scientist noted that perhaps they are related to the Sami.

Mysterious Warrior's Trail

Perhaps, a much more ancient Taimyr find is associated with this population - a burial of the 7th-8th centuries at the mouth of the Galchikha River. Scientists cautiously say that they are still dealing with the artifacts found there. “The issue has yet to be resolved. These are different chronological periods, different epochs, different times,” explained the director of the Krasnoyarsk geoarcheology.

The items found allow you to make several hypotheses. Among the finds are a bowl made of silver and white bronze, probably of Iranian origin, Bulgar silver, ornaments in the form of bronze loons. One of the most interesting finds in the burial is chain mail. According to Lysenko, such armor has not yet been found so far north. He noted that the weaving of chain mail is very similar to much later Russian products of the 11th century.

Expedition member Nikolai Stepanov said that the discovery was made on one of the hills. Scientists did not find human remains in this place, which archaeologists associate either with a special burial rite, or with some phenomena as a result of which the bones were not preserved.

Archaeologists say these and similar finds are evidence of local trade ties. "All these peoples were focused not only on obtaining food resources, but also on commodity production, associated primarily with furs, fox hunting. We have to understand where this fox was supplied," Lysenko said.

He also noted that in the Russian chronicles Novgorodians' campaigns to the east for fur, in the so-called Ugra, are noted. Its boundaries, where it began and ended, are unknown. It is possible that the settlement in Makarov Bay experienced some kind of Russian influence.